Music on the Mac woes

I’ve had it with Apple Music. I just sent Tim Cook this email:

Dear Mr. Cook,

First of all, congratulations on another successful quarter.

I saw the other day that the price for my Apple One subscription is increasing. I understand the cost of services will inevitably rise over time. However, I would also hope the service improves over time, and Apple Music is shamefully bad compared to the glory of the early iTunes era. (Remember how great iTunes 4 was? I do!)

I wanted to send a list of Apple Music bugs that I encountered this week alone. These bugs make it impossible to recommend Apple Music to others, so I now tell people to switch to Spotify.

Here’s my bug list for your attention:

  • Search fails. It will work for a while, but then suddenly it won’t. I will type one key in the search field, then the next. The second key will result in the classic Mac error tone, and the key won’t register in the Music app. The only solution is to quit the Music app and re-launch it.
  • Music will stop buffering in the background, and the next track will spin forever and ever until I quit and re-launch the app.
  • If I pause the Music app, then listen to audio from another source and return a couple hours later, Music will have forgotten what I was listing to. The Apple logo will be in the mini player. It’s like the music got forced out of memory. I have an M1 Max laptop with 64gb of RAM, so I doubt that’s the problem. (By the way, that’s the best laptop I’ve ever owned, congrats to you and the team on that. It’s stupendous.)
  • Apple Music still breaks my albums apart. I had a ripped copy of Led Zeppelin IV in my library. Music split that into two copies of the album, with a few tracks in each. No problem — I deleted my local copies and added it from Apple Music. A few months later, the same thing has happened. This time, the Music app is mixing up the remastered version and the Deluxe version of the album.
    • This bug gets even weirder: I’ve had instrumental versions of albums show up before. One of Metallica’s albums in my library lost all its vocals one time. Every other instrument was still present. That was actually an enjoyable experience, but the instrumental version of that album isn’t available for purchase or download in iTunes or Apple Music, and I have no idea how it happened.
  • Starting a new playlist or record from Spotlight (or similar launchers) resets my Repeat settings, turning off Album Repeat and enabling Infinite music.
  • Occasionally, hitting Play after briefly hitting Pause will restart a track or an album instead of picking up from where I left off.
  • Media keys will stop working with the Music app. In this scenario, hitting the Play button too many times results in the Music app “forgetting” what I listen to, and the music I was enjoying disappears from the mini player, replaced with the default Apple logo, as though I had freshly booted the app.

I could go on.

This is very important to me, so I want to repeat myself for clarity’s sake: I’ve encountered each of these bugs in just the past 5 days, and every one of these bugs has been around since the launch of Apple Music.

Please get these fixed so I can recommend Apple Music again, and so I don’t have to cancel Apple One and move to Spotify.

Thank you and best regards

I will let you all know if I hear back.

In the meantime, is there another Mac client for Apple Music? One that doesn’t suck?I found this, but it hasn’t been updated in over a year.


I’d love to listen to instrumental Metallica!

(can’t help with any of your issues though)

You know, the Metallica experience was actually incredible. It was the entirety of …And Justice for All with zero vocals. Just guitars and drums. No idea how or why it happened. I was sad when it corrected itself; I kind of hoped it would be permanent, and my local version would be instrumental, but the streamed version would have vocals.

No such luck, I’m afraid.

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Re-reading your post now. Outside of lossless music, is Spotify that much worse sounding? I know the free tier sounds bad, but supposedly the paid tier has HQ options that are as good as Apple’s compressed files. Have you had any experience with the paid version?

Check out a band called Pelican, their essentials album on AM is a must-have for portions of my workday. Plenty of heavy riffs without some yelling over top of it.

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I’ve tried and quit Apple Music several times. Apple has never been accused of being great at search which is probably why Siri frequently played music I never requested. And Music always screwed up my ripped collection every time I tried to use Match. The good news is there are other music streaming services. The bad news is none of them are perfect.

Chances are that Apple won’t fix all your problems immediately so this might be a good time to try another service. (Currently I am playing music I uploaded to YouTube Music on my original HomePod) Apple makes great hardware and a good OS but they aren’t the best at everything they do.

Good Luck

Your first question to Tim should be.

  1. Are you using Spotify for your Music? Else you would have fixed Apple Music by now.

  2. If you have few downloaded tracks and playing them over and over it’s fantastic. No bugs. Searches are great and everything is awesome. Then why would I be paying for subscription for few downloaded songs. Try to use the search and report your findings.

This is my favorite Apple Music bug, every time I open the app this is what it looks like:

It’ll stay like that till I select something in the sidebar.

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all of this, so much, all of this. Ugh. I hate it.

I really am considering switching to Spotify.

I tell you, I miss Rdio every day. Every single day.

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Yes! Rdio was such a pleasure. I especially remember listening to Random Access Memories the summer it came out.

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Holy smokes, I haven’t thought about Rdio in a long time, good call!

PS: I find app naming nomenclature hilarious: just remove the 2nd or final vowel preceding a consonant.

I have an AWESOME bug that I’ve been dealing with on macOS since the switch over from iTunes to Music. I have worked tirelessly–until I finally gave up–with Apple tech support to address it. In my composer view, which is the second most important view to me next to the column browser, the list of songs attributed to the composers are wrong after a certain letter in the alphabet. Let me explain, curious reader.

I am not sure what letter in the alphabet this begins with, but I know it’s right for a while. But let’s look at some M composers. I have Mendelssohn, Felix (1809-1847) as a composer. When I click his name, I get compositions from Natalie Merchant. But, I get the rest of the Natalie Merchant songs under her own name.

I have Noel Gallagher mixed in with Nikki Costa.

I have Van Halen tracks from one album mixed into the composer list for Simpson & Ashford.

All the metadata in the tracks themselves are correct. I.e., Jump is not listed as being composed by Simpson & Ashford but by Van Halen/D. Roth/Van Halen. The rest of the tracks in 1984 seem to be correctly associated with the correct composer.

All these tracks are in the right place in iOS music.

This mostly a problem with classical music, where I work with the composer view the most. I use the pop/rock tracks just to hammer the point home.

It’s infuriating.


I totally agree. It’s like something out of Through the Looking Glass.

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There’s Cider, which is limited by Apple Music’s API to 256kbps, but at least my music plays reliably. Others here on MPU have mentioned Fidelia, which can play downloaded music from AM:

I was reminded of my own issues with AM, which seems to have been “fixed” on Ventura by… disabling select-all. This is a $2.3T company.

I am looking forward to trying Cider, thanks! Very exciting. Lossless is cool but makes no difference for my Studio Display speakers or AirPods.

I would love to use Music on my Mac to control the two HomePod minis that flank my monitor. Except I gave up on that adventure after about three goes. I just grab my phone which reliably controls them.

What would the Mac do wrong? I forget all of the issues I had, but the most egregious one would be the music would simply stop dead in the middle of a song and the Music app would no longer be outputting to the HomePods but set for local Mac audio (and playing nothing).

Thanks for confirming my decision to stick with Spotify for listening to music. I’m sometimes tempted by the cheaper price of bundling with Apple’s other services, but music is too important to me to put up with an inferior app.

I uploaded my entire music library to iTunes Match when it was first released and for $20 or so a year its worked well all things considered.

Using Apple Music is worse than being waterboarded tho. I strictly use it to match my music so I can download it when I want instead of having hard drives with all my music.

Cider App has been a pretty good replacement but it’s a little rough but shows promise.

Perhaps the most hyperbolic thing I’ve ever read about AM :laughing:


I’m still encountering all the bugs you’ve mentioned.

Biggest offender is the search and not being able to go back to a previous view. Songs that get divided into 2-3 different (same) album.

I remember when Apple Music was new. I have an iTunes Match subscription and I’m getting duplicates, missing Matched albums, albums that are divided into multiple of 2s and 3s and the Apple Music specialist the customer service transferred me to is also experiencing the same issue. He was great enough to fix some of the issue and told me to turn off Match if I wanted to keep Apple Music. Sucks that I lost some albums that are not available via streaming though. Had to re-rip some of my old CDs by busting out my old white Macbook.

Another issue I’m getting is that Apple Music won’t work on my work Mac if its not connected on an ethernet cable even if I lower it to just high quality AAC.

Reason why I’m still using AM: my music library available on all my devices including matched albums, lossless, I like their curated playlist, the Zane Lowe interviews, music video, and because all of my devices are from Apple.

I have Spotify when I get discounted plans because they have other features I like like the Liner Notes. Other than that, I still like AM more than Spotify.


I also miss Rdio. I still have their tote bag that has a special place in my tote bag collection.